Fallout 76 wasn’t the only Interplay throwback at E3 2018: Descent, one of the games that defined the six degrees of freedom genre, is no longer underground. That is, the former title has changed because Interplay’s embraced the game and given the developers full support.
Descendent Studios team is hard at work on launch, Little Orbit CEO Matt Scott met with us to discuss what’s been going on in the past several years of development. Nostalgia aside, I went in expecting the worst: long-abandoned IP, Kickstarted game, indie team, extended public development, and fairly quiet presence on social media. However, I came out very pleased. While the game may not be an MMORPG, what I saw and heard makes me think that this may be the space experience I’ve been waiting for.
While I’ve had kind words to say about the potential for mobile in the past – particularly MMOARGs – I just haven’t been able to get into mobile MMORPGs. The point of view, the auto-follow, the lack of chat, and a generally cheap feeling leave me feeling a bit ill. However, I was fortunate enough to get my hands on Black Desert Online’s mobile port this year at E3, which might just change my mind.
Now, let me preface this by saying I am not an active player of the PC version of the game, and my brief time with the console version of the game only confirmed to me that Pearl Abyss has competently adapted controls and UI for console, but oddly enough, the work on the mobile client stood out to me as particularly superb. And as Pearl Abyss CEO Kyungin “Robin” Jung told me during our interview, the company is indeed considering porting the title to the Switch. While it sounded interesting (and a bit odd considering Nintendo’s general status as an online-outsider), it wasn’t until I personally played BDM that I seriously started to consider the possibility.
You know with my being the one at this year’s E3 that this would happen. A console Pokemon game that also connects to Pokemon Go? The possibility for a way to include trading in Niantic’s game in an indirect manner, a wider connection to the main series, its online storage system that helps give the games some semblance of persistence – altogether, it seemed for a moment as if Nintendo was indirectly building another pillar in its overall Pokemon world.
Sadly, from what everything we’ve learned, we’re no closer to a true (official) Pokemon MMO. However, my hands-on experience did hint at some really cool immersion for Go players who want to pick up Pokemon Let’s Go for a new mix of the core series’ gameplay.
With all the online talk about Nintendo this year, it feels only fitting to give Nintendo’s Super Smash Bros Ultimate a little time. We’ve talked recently about the unbundling of MMOs and why the market seems primed for a big title yet goes unanswered. Readers and writers all noted that other genres help meet the demands for this, from MOBAs to even social media.
In fact, we even covered an online fighting game last year because it included customizable characters (both appearance and abilities), quests, loot, guilds, and even guild quests that involved more than two people. An MMO it was not, but it certainly had enough overlap that it turned a few heads. The last Smash Bros included several of these components but restricted them to mostly offline play. However, one interesting note was that the Mii-fighter, a highly customizable character in the Smash-verse restricted to “fun” and “casual” play off and online, is being prepared for online battles. Whether that means in a new form or its customizable form matters, as one might hint at Nintendo’s aim for this title: another try for sanitized online fighter, or embracing the full spectrum of Smash fans. I’m leaning towards the latter.
You remember Save the World, right? The mode of Fortnite wherein you build a base and defend against zombies? The one that was supposed to be the entire focus of the game at one time? Because apparently it’s not in the latest port for the Nintendo Switch. The port only includes the battle royale portion of the game, and according to the developers there are no plans to change this.
So, you know, if you had been harboring any misapprehensions about the core focus of the game at this point, it may be time to let go of those illusions. It’s not a matter of the game just surprise-launching yesterday. In related news, the game reportedly has 125 million players, so it’s not hard to trace a line covering why the developers decided that porting the battle royale mode was the part that matters. Oh, well.
Pearl Abyss’ Kyungin “Robin” Jung isn’t just a CEO. He’s also got a background in engineering. He may not have developed any game-saving tech for Black Desert
, but at least he’s the kind of boss that understands when his developers’ plans don’t quite work as intended.
Maybe that’s why he was also unaware of the Hysteria Hackers problem we’ve previously discussed. It’s something the community managers and customer support should be handling, rather than the CEO himself. Nevertheless, Jung and Senior VP (and translator) Jin “JJ” Jeonghee said they’d look into it after our interview. With the team preparing for E3 and the Xbox One beta, there’s a lot for a CEO to be dealing with.
It seems weird to me now that the game we were preciously calling “Crowfall for PvE fans” at last year’s E3 has changed so drastically in that time that right now it’s leading the battle royale pack as one of the biggest games in the entire world.
But here we are at another E3, and Fortnite is all grown up, blazing ahead along Epic Games’ vector to get it on what seems like every platform known to man in an attempt to bedazzle the competition.
And that now includes the Nintendo Switch, as announced at the Nintendo presser at E3 today. As this post goes live at 1 p.m. EDT, the game will arrive for Switch players through the eShop, free-to-play as always. Yes, today. Right now.
Catch ’em if you can.
As if tier systems weren’t specific enough with letter grades, + and -, S rank, and S+#, Splatoon 2‘s 3.0 update is further separating the kids from the squids with rank X, a tier above the rest aimed primarily at the best of the best.
For the rest of us mere mortals, about 100 new and returning pieces of gear are being added tonight at 9 p.m. EDT, along with some Splatoon 1 songs, four new weapons, the Camp Triggerfish stage, and Callie’s glorious return. The once lost squid sister will offer recent multiplayer stats about the player’s character after “certain requirements” are met.
We’ve also been warned that future releases will be coming out more slowly, but meatier, with batches of weapons, gear, and stages still coming along in the future.
Source: Splatoon 2
press release, Tumblr
As this year’s GDC coverage is winding down, I am finally coming to the topic I saved for last: community. MMOs are more than just multiplayer. We attract the “alone together” people more than the “FPS hero” crowd in our comments section for a reason; MMOs are virtual worlds. They’re a digital space inhabited by other people. We may not talk to them, but we watch and listen. Maybe we engage, maybe we group, maybe we guild. We do stuff in a shared environment because we think, or hope, we’re part of a larger system.
And this is why we need to talk about cross-platform communities and the strength of in-game, embedded community tools. As social media rises and mobile crashes against our PC fortress, increased console cross-play should be a reminder that we’re all gamers, and (some) developers are finally getting that.
Nintendo’s one-year-old Switch is starting to pick up more and more online titles as it matures and gains in popularity, and its latest coup is in securing the popular ARK: Survival Evolved for the platform.
Studio Wildcard announced that it will be bringing ARK to the Switch this fall as both a retail and digital product. The Switch version promises to host all of the content and animals that exist on other platforms. And it sounds as if the studio is taking advantage of the unique hardware: “With this new version, Switch players can go directly from hunting and taming while sitting on the couch, to forming online tribes and searching out new conquests when on the bus, waiting in line, or wherever they happen to be,” said Lead Designer Jeremy Stieglitz.
Meanwhile in the current PC version, ARK has updated to Patch v279, which comes with visual upgrades to six of the creatures (including the Raptor and Triceratops). This update will arrive on consoles in mid-April.
You currently cannot play Diablo III on as many different platforms as you can play, say, Skyrim. But it looks like the number of available platforms will go up soon; Gamespot is reporting that anonymous sources indicate the title is indeed coming to the Nintendo Switch. Those sources have nothing to say on the topic of whether or not the game’s expansions will be included, but one can certainly assume that will be the case.
So why the silence after an earlier tease for exactly this? Well, it may be because Nintendo seems to prefer to remain tight-lipped about these ports until they’re closer to release, or it may be that the current testing is more about seeing if it’s doable than specifically making it happen. Or it could just be willful obtrusiveness, or the anonymous sources are wrong. You get to decide!
Let us see if you are bright enough to crack this clue. Blizzard Entertainment sent out a tweet earlier this week in which it said “Sweet dreams” and showed a short six-second clip of Diablo’s head functioning as a light switch. A hand comes into view and turns on and off the light twice.
We’ll wait while you mull that over.
Yeah, it looks as though the studio could be working on Diablo III (or some other version of Diablo) for the Nintendo Switch. Then again, it might not. Polygon emailed the studio about it and got a reply from Blizzard saying, “We can assure you we’re not that clever. [It was] meant to be a fun community engagement piece. We have nothing to announce.”
So is Blizzard being honest or coy here? And do you see Diablo III kicking butt on the Switch? Let us know in the comments!
After my hands-on at E3 and experience with the first Splatfest demo, I was a little concerned about Splatoon 2. I loved Splatoon 1, but something about the E3 Salmon Run fell flat, and after having experienced the full version of Splat 1, I thought that the demo of Splat 2 without customization felt too shallow.
So I was provided a review copy of the game prior to launch, and something still didn’t feel right. While it was good to get in time with the single player mode and prepare me for launch, I figured out what was missing: the real Splatoon community. It’s what gives Splatoon more of an MMO-y feel than most of Nintendo’s other titles.